“Were all the geniuses of history to focus on this single theme, they could never fully express their bafflement at the darkness of the human mind. No person would give up even an inch of their estate, and the slightest dispute with a neighbor can mean hell to pay; yet we easily let others encroach on our lives—worse, we often pave the way for those who will take it over. No person hands out their money to passersby, but to how many do each of us hand out our lives! We’re tight-fisted with property and money, yet think too little of wasting time, the one thing about which we should all be the toughest misers.”
— Seneca, On the Shortness of Life, 3.1–2
In this modern, fast-paced life and attention-driven economy, if there’s one thing that you must become cognizant of, it’s the fact that the world around you is built to constantly interrupt you. It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself a focused person or not, if you don’t take charge of your immediate environment, you will be a victim of a series of distractions throughout your day. That’s why, it’s crucial you commit to protecting your focus and time and turn off every single thing that could possibly distract you.
A philosopher knows that they must pause and immerse themself in some quiet moments of introspection; to delve into the depths of their soul and contemplate the way they choose to live their life. They realize the importance of self-awareness. They know that understanding our mental landscape allows us to identify and repel the intruders that threaten our peace of mind.
Unfortunately, the world today, as Anne Morrow Lindbergh pointed out in her book Gift from the Sea, often fails to grasp the importance of being alone. Society tends to prioritize constant connectivity and external validation over personal space and tranquility. Due to this, we often end up gravitating toward smartphones, television, and the Internet to avoid the awkwardness of being alone with our thoughts. As a direct outcome, we keep ourselves away from soul-nourishing pursuits and deny ourselves the space needed to tap into the creative resources that lie dormant within us.
But here’s the thing: Solitude and stillness are essential ingredients for a happy and fulfilling life. They’re not signs of weakness or isolation; they are acts of self-care. As Robin Sharma said, “It is in solitude where we meet ourselves, and in stillness where we find inner peace.” Embracing solitude allows us to recharge, gain clarity, and nurture a deeper connection with ourselves. It is through moments of solitude and stillness that we find strength, inspiration, and the ability to navigate life's challenges.
Despite societal pressure, we must recognize the profound value of carving out moments of solitude and stillness. It’s okay to slow down, to march at our own rhythm, and to listen to our inner voice. To re-align with our values and to focus on the most important virtues so that we show up as the best versions of ourselves every single day.